The island country of Cape Verde beckons to those who want to journey far, far off the beaten path—these 10 volcanic islands sit 350 miles off the coast of West Africa and are just now entering the mainstream travel conversation. Yet while the country is seemingly adrift on its own in an endless sea, there is a vibrant community here, with a richer and better educated population than just about anywhere else in Africa. Dive right in, with day-long hikes on Santa Antão, lively evenings of music and cocktails in Mindelo, days spent communing with the locals at Praia da Salina beach, and a circling of Cape Verde’s highest peak and active volcano, Mt. Fogo, via a cobbled road through tiny villages with their lava block houses. Sal is a favorite for its lunar-like landscape and incredible surfing, as is Boa Vista, where sugar-hued beaches stretch on for 55 kilometers.